Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Alright... so... what happened?

So, how is it that Obama actually managed to pull this out?

This was not some great mandate for Obama (though many will attempt to sell it as such). Actually, under most circumstances this would have been a damning repudiation of him.

Obama lost two more states than in 2008, and the states he won lost electoral votes in between...

He lost support in almost every demographic, almost every statistical grouping... He even lost support among blacks and women (though of course, he still took both groups by wide margins).

In fact, over 10 million fewer people voted for Obama this election than in 2008.

Obama in 2012, actually got less votes than McCain did in 2008.

So how did Obama win?

Well.. as it happens, so did Romney.

...Get less votes than McCain that is... About 3 million less actually.

In fact, Romney lost to Obama, by fewer votes (about 2.6 million) than the difference between McCain and Romney from 2008 to 2012.

If Romney had achieved the same number of votes McCain did in 2008, he probably would have won.

It really did come down to turnout... But not in the way we expected. 

Those of us who believed that Romney was going to win, assumed that that while almost no-one actually loved Romney... or even particularly liked the idea of him as president; that those voters dislike of Obama would cause them to vote for Romney, to get Obama out of office.

They didn't.

Instead, they just didn't vote.

Polls showed a large independent break for Romney. up to 20%

But the turnout models were wrong, and the likely voter models were wrong.  Romney only ended up with a 5% advantage among independents.

Those 15% ?

They just decided not to vote.

In fact, not only did both Romney AND Obama get less votes than 2008... they also both got less than their counterparts in 2004.

Absolute turnout hasn't been this low since 2000, when the country had 35 million fewer people in it.

As a percentage, turnout hasn't been this bad since 1948. 

Yes, seriously, we haven't had turnout this bad in 64 years.

So, where did Romney lose support from McCain?

Actually, in most demographic categories, Romney gained support over McCain as a percentage... But in a few critical groups, he lost substantially:

  • Fiscal conservatives (more than 10% loss)
  • Libertarians (more than 20% loss)
  • Latinos (Romney lost 6%, Obama gained 3%, 3% less voted)
  • Asians (Romney lost 9%, Obama gained 11%, 2% more voted)
  • The elderly (Romney lost 3%, Obama picked up 1%, 2% less voted)
  • He also lost HUGE on "shares my values" (over 10%), and "cares about people like me" (over 6%).

Basically, Romney was successfully portrayed as an uncaring and detached rich guy to "centrists" and "independents"; and he actually IS a big government Republican, which other independents, fiscal conservatives, and libertarians didn't want to vote for.

The Republican party (and most everyone else for that matter) simply assumed that by choosing Romney as their nominee, people would vote for him as the lesser of two evils...

They didn't.

Instead, they just didn't vote.